Building resilient companies in the time of COVID-19

Ms. Christine Ramon

AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited, in partnership with the Institute of African Studies (IAS) of the University of Ghana, has hosted the Seventh AngloGold Ashanti Lecture on Business in Africa, which is annually organized under the auspices of the Kwame Nkrumah Chair of the IAS.

This year’s lecture, organized on a free Zoom Webinar, on Thursday, October 8, 2020, was under the theme, “Building a Resilient, Sustainable Organization during a Global Pandemic – Lessons from COVID-19 for Africa.”

Delivering the lecture, the Interim Chief Executive Officer of AngloGold Ashanti, Ms. Christine Ramon, noted that even though managing a large, multi-jurisdictional mining company through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has presented its own unique set of challenges, it has also provided some valuable lessons for broader society in

The lecture brought attention to the economic hardship all economies face as a result of the pandemic and governmental measures, especially in sectors like hospitality, commercial real estate and tourism.

There have, though, also been some positive learnings that have come with operating in this challenging environment. “A positive development to come out of working in the challenging COVID-19 environment has been the increased communication and cooperation both in the company and with all our stakeholders. In Ghana we saw just how critical the cooperation between the health ministry, local government and our own health teams was as we reported our first cases.

This kind of collaboration between governments, businesses and other stakeholders have been one of the more positive aspects of the pandemic.” Ms. Ramon said. All industries, particularly mining companies, were commended for their resilience in the face of a challenging and potentially long-lasting crisis, and Ms. Ramon recommended that companies make decisions that will help them flourish over the long term, working closely with host communities.

“These will include commitments to our employees and to our hosts in line with our values — that must be honoured, and hopefully improved upon.” She said. Mr. Eric Asubonteng, Managing Director of AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi Mine, in a statement addressing the forum, reiterated the need for the industry to continue working together with government, communities and citizens in continuously identifying opportunities to sustain long-term benefits for all.

He was proud of the measures taken by the Obuasi Mine to control the spread of the disease and highlighted their effectiveness in mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the Obuasi Redevelopment Project. “We are proud to say that due to the effectiveness of the COVID-19 interventions implemented, the Obuasi Redevelopment Project continued and is on course without significant disruptions, albeit some delays to the schedule of the ramp-up,” he said.

Prof. Dzodzi Tsikata, Director, Institute of African Studies, in her remarks, commended AngloGold Ashanti for supporting the Institute in its efforts to expand its research into Africa’s contribution to global development. She also expressed profound gratitude to AngloGold Ashanti for collaborating with the Institute to make the lecture series a success once again.

Ms. Karen Akiwumi-Tanoh, the former Chairperson of First Atlantic Bank, chaired the event.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Akiwumi-Tanoh thanked the Institute of African Studies for ensuring that the 2020 annual lecture happened in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, using the aid of technology. She also lauded AngloGold Ashanti for being exemplary in leveraging lessons from their different operations across the globe to set new operational standards during this pandemic.

“The pandemic has highlighted the value of cross-cultural and multi-jurisdictional learning. It is clear that businesses will be stronger and more competitive if they remain swiftly responsive to changes both within and outside their geographical locations.

Today’s lecture has been possible mainly because we all accepted to embrace the new normal, making it possible for us to listen to such erudite people from different locations at the same time without having to travel”. She ended on an optimistic note that the world would be better and stronger post-COVID-19.

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